CNA Frequently Asked Questions

When taking the CNA class, what happens if I cannot attend class?  

The ND Health Department requires NDSCS to verify that students have attended class for a minimum of 75 hours. The 75 hours must be in class with the RN CNA instructor. Due to this requirement, NDSCS does not have the option to give “excused absences” or “make-up” work.  NDSCS does schedule the class so that there are at least 2 hours extra in the class schedule (for example, the class is scheduled for 77 hours).  Students must commit to 100% class attendance.

I have a felony – Can I be a CNA?

Training and being hired as a CNA is a multi-step process.

  1. Will the ND Health Department issue a certificate?  Before considering CNA as a profession, review the ND Nursing Assistant Application for Certification by Examination form (1101ND) required to register for the CNA certification test.  If you answer “yes” to any question on page 2, consider contacting the ND Health Department to find out if you would be issued a certificate after passing the CNA certification exam.
  2. Are you hirable as a CNA?  Even if a person earns and is granted a CNA certificate, a person needs to be hirable.  Some human resource contacts in the metro community have said they WILL NOT hire someone with a record of a violent felony or theft. On a positive note, NDSCS has been in contact with a CNA that was convicted of a violent felony and the license was revoked.  After waiting 5 years to demonstrate that they had rehabilitated, the CNA was able to regain CNA certification and was hired in a small-town long-term care facility.
  3. In summary, each situation is different, so it is important to ask a lot of questions before pursuing a career in healthcare. 
What is a “challenge test” student?

In North Dakota, a person may test for the CNA certification without having attended an approved North Dakota training program. (NDSCS is an approved CNA training program/class.)  This is called “challenging the test.” When challenging the test, a person has 6 months to make 3 attempts to pass the test. When a person does not pass the test in 3 attempts or goes beyond the 6 months, the person is then required to take an approved CNA class. Students can contact HDMaster to find out their testing status.

My CNA certification has lapsed. What do I do?

When the CNA certification has expired, the CNA becomes a “challenge test” student. You must retest and demonstrate your knowledge and skills by completing both parts of the CNA certification exam. Go to and follow the three-step process to register for testing.

How long is the HD Master CNA certification test? What part do I take?

HD Master is the company that administers the test in the state of North Dakota. Every CNA in North Dakota is testing with this company.        

The CNA knowledge test is 90 minutes to complete the 72-question multiple choice test. To pass, a score of 75% or better is needed. There is a database of over 800 test questions. Page 8 of the ND Nursing Assistant Candidate Handbook has a breakdown of questions by subject area.

The CNA Skills test is 30 minutes to complete the randomly assigned skills taken from the ND CNA Candidate Handbook list of 24 skills.  Each candidate is assigned either 3 or 4 skills to complete. To pass, a score of 80% without missing any key steps (bolded steps) is needed. If you are taking the test for the first time, you must take both parts of the test on the same day. 

I worked as a CNA in a different state. How do I get a ND CNA certification?

If you currently work as a CNA, you can get a ND CNA certification by going to and completing the request for endorsement. If do you not have a current license, you must retest as a challenge student and complete all other details described in the endorsement process. There is no cost to get a ND CNA number.

I have a ND CNA certificate. Can I work in a different state?

The process to request a CNA Certificate in a different state is called “endorsement”. Google CNA endorsement in the state to find the process required to obtain a CNA number.

How do I get my CNA certificate after passing the test?

Once both parts of the CNA certification test are passed, the test results are sent to the North Dakota Department of Health by HD Master/Headmaster. After the Department of Health has certified that all requirements are met, a certificate number is issued. Go to page 6 of the North Dakota Candidate Handbook (located at -> North Dakota) to see the written instructions to “verify a registration” at Successful CNA candidates print off the card and/or verification letter to present when applying for jobs.

What is the oral test and how does it work?

The oral test option is a great option for people who learn best by hearing. If vocabulary or reading are a challenge, the oral test option may help. The oral test is only for the knowledge part of the certification exam. Using computer headphone, the question is read to you at the same time the question appears on the computer screen. There are control buttons on the computer screen so that you can play, rewind, pause, etc. When you skip to a different question, oral exam stays in sync with the questions you see on the screen. 

The oral exam is an additional $10 fee and you must:

  1. Check the box on the 1101ND form, and
  2. Pay $10 at the time of registration, and
  3. Bring headphones that plug into the NDSCS computer.
    Make sure you have tested them in advance and they are comfortable for you.

What if hearing the questions read to you is distracting or too slow?
If this happens, you simply remove your headphones and continue with the exam. At any time, you can put the headphones back on and listen to the questions. The oral exam stays in sync with the questions you see on the screen.